Free Software Foundation: Volunteer Empire

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Proposal
Short Form
Beginner

Excerpt

People are often surprised to find out that the Free Software Foundation only has around 10 employees. Our outreach and activities would not be possible without the thousands of volunteers who make our work possible. Managing the multitude of individual volunteers and volunteer projects has its own difficulties, but also incredible rewards. Tailoring structure, communication, and instructional materials for each type of volunteer and project is key for keeping a well run volunteer empire. We will explore this tailoring through the lens of some of the largest and smallest volunteer projects that the Free Software Foundation facilitates.

Description

The talk will focus on three particular aspects of the work that Free Software Foundation volunteers provide to the world, going into detail about how the scope and nature of each project requires different tools in managing.

  • Massively Multi-Volunteer Online Projects: The GNU Project
    • Published Instructional Materials
    • Volunteers as leaders: GNU Project Maintainers
    • Lowering the cost of contributing: make the process simple
  • Special Ops: The GPL License and Compliance Lab team
    • Internal documentation
    • Volunteers as shepherds: Preceptors of the Queue
    • Maintaining close-knit communications
  • The Walk in: turning one time volunteers into long term collaborators
    • Having tasks (and their instructions) ready for new volunteers
    • Having task progression – simple one off actions up to long running projects
    • Maintaining contact and enthusiasm
  • How you can help – join the FSF volunteer empire

Tags

volunteers, community, free software, outreach

Speaking experience

* From Creation to Compliance: A Free Software Legal Primer at "Linuxfest Northwest 2014":http://linuxfestnorthwest.org/2014/sessions/creation-compliance-free-software-legal-primer
* "Seminar on GPL Enforcement and Legal Ethics 2014":https://www.fsf.org/events/seminar-on-gpl-enforcement-and-legal-ethics
* Software License Compliance Audits: Establishing Audit Protocol in the Agreement and in Practice at "ACI:Software Agreements - Cloud, SaaS, Open Source & Licensing 2013":http://www.americanconference.com/softwarelic/agenda
* Licensing & compliance: a collective effort at "Libreplanet 2013":https://libreplanet.org/wiki/LibrePlanet:Conference/2013/Sessions

Speaker

  • Don

    Donald Robertson

    Free Software Foundation

    Biography

    Donald Robertson, III, J.D. is the Copyright and Licensing Associate for the Free Software Foundation. He has worked for the FSF for over five years in the FSF’s Licensing & Compliance Lab, and has been involved in free software for over a decade.

    Other Talks:

    1. From Creation to Compliance: A Free Software Legal Primer at Linuxfest Northwest 2014
    2. Seminar on GPL Enforcement and Legal Ethics 2014
    3. Software License Compliance Audits: Establishing Audit Protocol in the Agreement and in Practice at ACI:Software Agreements – Cloud, SaaS, Open Source & Licensing 2013
    4. Licensing & compliance: a collective effort at Libreplanet 2013